Former US vice president Joe Biden. Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Where Do Our 2020 Presidential Candidates Stand On Israel?

A review of Trump and Biden’s policies.

With grim updates on the novel coronavirus pandemic dominating the news cycle, it’s easy to forget that the 2020 United States Presidential election is just around the corner. Primary season was essentially halted as a result of the outbreak of the virus and according to the New York Times, 16 states have postponed their primaries. Former Vice President Joe Biden maintained a strong edge since Super Tuesday, leading for his remaining opposition, Senator Bernie Sanders, to drop out of the race and endorse Biden. The disappearance of Sanders from the American political landscape pleases the Zionist inside of me, as I know whoever will be President in 2020 will be pro-Israel. There is, however, still a difference between the two candidates.

Biden has been known to be a longtime friend of Israel and understands its importance to the Jewish people as a secure homeland. However, the Vice President has not been hesitant to criticize the right-wing actions of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and has been a strong advocate for a two-state solution. In contrast with Senator Sanders, Biden is far less eager to withhold any aid from Israel to use as leverage. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, the former senior State Department official Bob Silverman who spent time as a political advisor during the Obama administration at the US Embassy stated that he believes Biden will have to mold to the neo-Progressive stance on Israel, likely resulting in a tougher policy with less tolerance for Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians. Silverman emphasized the importance of the Democratic Party gaining the support of progressives, namely Bernie supporters, in order to defeat President Trump.

US President Donald Trump. Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

As for the incumbent, his position on Israel can be summarized by the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu in which he called Trump, “the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House.” Though this statement does originate from an administration with a particular flair for superlatives, there is an absolute truth behind it. In Trump’s final year or so in office, he has changed the standard for US Middle East policy, tipping the balance heavily in Israel’s favor. According to the Washington Post, during Trump’s time in office, the US Embassy was moved to Jerusalem and recognized as the official capital, Israel was given sovereignty over the Golan Heights and Israel’s prospective annexation of the Jordan Valley and its settlements has been approved. Furthermore, the President proposed a ‘Deal of the Century’ Peace Plan in which all parties were satisfied except for the Palestinian Authority, likely because the plan heavily favored the policy of the Likud party, Israel’s right-wing group that is home to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The next four years of American diplomacy towards Israel will more than likely satisfy most Zionists. Depending on the strategy set by the Democratic National Convention that has already been postponed from mid-July to mid-August, it is fully possible for Biden to adopt a stance on Israel that gives little wiggle room for Netanyahu’s settlements and toughens the Democratic party’s policy on Israel. If President Trump is reelected, Zionists can be certain that Israel and the US will maintain a strong bond. The downside to the policy of President Trump on Israel, however, is that the divide between Palestinians and Israelis will grow deeply and a solution between the two groups will be harder to reach than ever.

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Adam Schwartz is a senior at Westfield High School in N.J. He is a staff writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.

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